A daily round-up of education news and views for the Lone Star State
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 Principal News
 A daily round-up of education news and views for the Lone Star State To add a recipient please click here
Wednesday, 21st July 2021





3 Ways to Create a Student-Centered Classroom

Student-centered learning environments prioritize student agency, use technology to personalize instruction, and consider community, experience, and culture in all aspects of learning. But creating an environment that combines all of those factors while navigating everyday obstacles is no easy feat. In this blog, you'll find tips from educators on prioritizing student agency, examples of technology that make personalized learning attainable, and strategies for engaging families and the community.





More districts assert ESSER spending plans

Amarillo ISD has officially presented its plan for the third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. Officials plan to spend their allotted $72,709,732 on various priorities, focusing on addressing student learning loss, mental health interventions and support, retention of staff, and professional development. Exactly $23,335,589 is set to go to districtwide priorities, including a retention stipend for teachers, instructional assistants and substitutes, as well as covering shortfalls in instructional materials allotment funds from the state. Some $10,366,000 will be used for the retention incentive, giving teachers who stay with the district an additional $4,000 as well as $2,000 to instructional assistants and eligible substitutes who stay with the district over the next three years. After the districtwide priorities, $5,441,837 will be going toward common priorities from site-based, decision-making teams on the district's campuses, providing resources to create common support, and common resources and intervention throughout the district. The remaining $43,932,306 will go to the campuses themselves, being disseminated on the respective campus’s percentage of at-risk students. Separately, Gary ISD school board members have approved their plan for the use of $867,322 in ESSER funds. Among the allocations, $37,500 is to be spent on staff retention bonuses, with every employee in the district getting a one-time $500 bonus

Amarillo Globe News  Panola Watchman 


Aledo schools executives named best in west North Texas

The Aledo ISD board and superintendent Susan Bohn have been named the best in the western half of North Texas by the Texas Association of School Boards. Education Service Center Region 11 serves 10 counties, including Tarrant, Parker, Denton, Cooke, Johnson and Palo Pinto. The region is made up of nearly 600,000 students and 80,000 employees across public school districts, charter campuses and private schools, according the region’s website. Bohn and the school board will compete against 19 other boards from across Texas. Finalists for state awards will be announced in August.



College Station ISD calls for $83m bond

The College Station ISD board authorized an $83m bond measure for the Nov. 2 election during a meeting Tuesday. The total amount for the general proposition is $70.6m, a technology proposition accounts for $4.5m, an athletics propositions amount to nearly $3m for the natatorium renovations and $5m for work at the A&M Consolidated High School and College Station High School football stadiums. College Station Superintendent Mike Martindale emphasized that approval of the bond measure by voters would not increase the district’s debt service tax rate.

Bryan-College Station Eagle 


Tuloso-Midway ISD board member investigated for grade tampering

Four students, including the child or children of a Tuloso-Midway ISD board trustee, had an unfair advantage involving a "non-district PE course" that was not offered to the remainder of the student body in the school district, according to a report from the Texas Education Agency. The district has announced the paid administrative leave of Superintendent Rick Fernandez, who received the report July 12. The TEA said the outside course was also allowed in previous years in which children of the board trustee, as well as the child of a close family friend, earned valedictorian ranking. "Additionally, a teacher informed the superintendent of unauthorized grade changes impacting her students," the report said. "An investigation into this issue revealed that 1,200 grades were changed without proper authorization in Fall 2020."





Ed. Dept. highlights procedures schools should take when responding to harassment reports

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released a Q&A document Tuesday highlighting procedures schools should take when responding to reports of sexual harassment. The document does not specifically address the rights of students who identify as transgender, but it does explain schools’ obligations in responding to complaints of sex discrimination. The resources, which follow policy based on 2020 amendments by the Trump administration, were made public while the department is conducting a comprehensive review of Title IX changes which will likely lead to proposed new rules.

K12 Dive  Ed.gov  Ed.gov  Ed.gov 




Academics champion 'complementary' education strategies

After COVID-19 disruptions gave parents and families unprecedented views into their children’s education and deepened insights into their kids' learning styles, Karen Pittman, co-founder and senior fellow at the Forum for Youth Investment, and Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute and the Charles E. Ducommun professor of education emeritus at Stanford University, explore two national surveys which emphasize the importance of acknowledging that learning happens in families, schools and communities in "complementary ways." For this summer specifically, parents' top priorities are addressing social, emotional and/or mental health needs (55%) and providing physical/outdoor activity (54%), rather than academic support/making up for learning loss (37%). Teachers, in general, agree (54%, 51%, 39%).

The 74 Million 




Rising infection rates prompted updated AAP mask guidance, Fauci says

Anthony Fauci on Tuesday addressed conflicting coronavirus pandemic masks guidance for children returning to school this fall, recommending that parents do what is “locally asked for." Speaking on "CBS This Morning," Fauci was asked about the American Academy for Pediatrics’ (AAP) recommendation that all students older than two years old wear masks regardless of vaccination status, which contradicts that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said earlier this month that fully vaccinated students and teachers do not need to wear masks, and that even unvaccinated people don’t need to wear masks outside during gym or recess. He said the reason the AAP issued its guidance is because of the “high degree of infection dynamics,” adding: “If you look at the map of the country right now, there’s an uptick in cases in virtually all the states in the United States, and for that reason they want to go the extra mile to make sure that the children are protected in school.”

The Hill 




The complexities of 'texting interventions' from schools

Schools' efforts to text parents do not necessarily increase their engagement levels and may actually backfire in some instances, according to a fresh study by the American Educational Research Association. Conducted in the 2013-14 school year, researchers examined the engagement level of parents of 3,483 middle and high school students in England who received an average of two text messages per week, nudging them to ask students specific questions related to their science curriculum. In the end, researchers found while the interventions increased parent-child conversations at home, they did not noticeably impact test scores. "These findings illustrate that parent engagement interventions are not costless: There are opportunity costs to shifting parental effort," the authors found.

K12 Dive 




Education department sued over national board for education sciences spat

Daniel T. Woislaw and Jessica L. Thompson, attorneys at the Pacific Legal Foundation nonprofit, claim that the Department of Education is hindering the work of the National Board for Education Sciences (NBES), an advisory committee tasked with ensuring the neutrality of the policies and recommendations adopted by the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES). Congress requires the NBES to meet at least three times each year and publish an annual report that assesses the effectiveness of the IES in carrying out its priorities and mission, however the attorneys say that the Department is not allowing that to happen. NBES members Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and John Yoo, the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, have now filed suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to compel the Department to deliver their commissions and allow the NBES to "meet, perform its oversight responsibilities and publish its annual report."

The Hill 




Most educated American cities mapped

Personal finance website WalletHub has released its ranking of the most and least educated American cities. The ranking, which covers the nation’s 150 largest metropolitan statistical areas relies on 11 key metrics grouped under two general areas, educational attainment and quality of education & attainment gap. The ten most educated cities, in order, were found to be Ann Arbor (Michigan), San Jose (California), Washington, D.C., San Francisco (California), Madison (Wisconsin), Boston (Massachusetts), Durham (North Carolina), Seattle (Washington), Austin (Texas) and Provo in Utah. “In metro areas where women have an advantage over men and black people have an advantage over white people, we gave extra credit compared to the metro areas with no gender-based/racial inequality,” researchers noted.


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